Help Save Liam

$5,545 of $6,500 goal

Raised by 85 people in 9 months
Two days ago Liam went from his normal upbeat, treat-guarding, howling, world-domination-plotting self, to a listless, limp, eyes glazed over dog, who refused to eat and could barely walk. Something was clearly very wrong, so we called our vet and took the first available appointment for the next morning.

After some blood testing and with the help of his most recent stool sample, they discovered that he had developed a sudden life threatening auto-immune disease called ‘Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia ’ (IMT). That means his immune system has been triggered to start attacking itself, and has destroyed virtually all of his red blood cells and platelets (a necessary blood component which we all have & need so we don’t bleed to death).
Because of this, they needed to immediately “calm down” his hyperactive immune system by administering immunosuppressant drugs. To their surprise, his body didn’t react to the drugs like it was supposed to.

So...next step: an emergency blood transfusion.

We got an uplifting call later that night where the doctor let us know the transfusion helped and we could visit him in the morning and hear about any improvements. 

That improvement was unfortunately short lived.

I (Zach) had my phone in hand as I was falling asleep. I woke up to a vibration and opened my eyes to see an unexpected call from the vet. Liam had taken a turn for the worse. They were stumped. His newly raised blood count had dropped back down to almost nothing. And somehow, the treatments had triggered ‘pulmonary edema’, so his lungs were filling with fluid.

We rushed to pick him up and sped to the specialist with our fingers crossed. Our vet told us that this place was very good, but warned us that we may be shocked to see the high costs for his treatment.

They took him in immediately and checked him out while we sat for what seemed like forever in the waiting room. After awhile they came out to tell us that he needs to stay hospitalized, and they’d have to run a bunch of tests and do more transfusions, etc. In the mean time, they’d have to have someone there to monitor him overnight 24/7 to make sure they can keep him stabilized (not die before morning).

So, he is there now. We are worried sick but hopeful that these doctors can find a solution.

We had to pay part of the estimated cost upfront , so we put $3600 on our care credit card. We have a limit with carecredit and as of now, thousands will need to be paid out of pocket. We are out of financial options. If we don’t get help, we are not going to be able to cover this time consuming and life saving treatment.

Anything anyone can offer is appreciated, even if it’s just sending Liam your love and positive thoughts. We cannot tell you how much your support means right now.


Zachs story of Liam:

When I went to college I had to smuggle Liam into my on-campus housing despite their strict no-dog policy. I tried working something out with the school but in the end the only way to keep him was to blatantly deny having him and hide him whenever they came to check.
It was during this time that I started to reward Liam with a treat whenever he finished his dog food. He caught on quick and I noticed that his dog food was disappearing faster and faster. So fast in fact that it seemed unusual. One day I heard strange sounds coming from where I had just refilled his food. When I went to see what was up, I was in disbelief at what I was witnessing. Liam was using his snout to push his dog food out of his bowl. He pushed it all into a pile and then moved the bowl on top to cover it up. He didn’t realize I had watched him do this, and came running up to me all excited ready for his treat. This is when I first began to understand just how diabolical he was, but it certainly wasn’t the last time I would discover I had been duped by Liam.
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Liam is doing better than we expected, his platelet count is still so high that we have to give him medicine to keep his platelets from sticking together. If he keeps improving we will hopefully be able to test his spleen soon and depending on the results will either let out a sigh of relief or panic again about how to afford a splenectomy.

He is still noticeably frail, his bark is much less powerful but much more adorable because of it. The prednisone he is taking to suppress his immune system has made him hungry to the point that we can’t feed the other dogs around him because he will try to barge in and take their food.

I have been cooking for him everyday and giving him more love than he can stand. I might be pampering him a little too much because he has started acting like he can’t do things so I will do them for him; I made steps up to my bed which he has no problem using when I’m not around (I will come into my room and he is on my bed, somehow) but he pretends like he can’t figure them out whenever I’m in the room; like I’m not able to make the connection if I don’t see him using them. Just last night casey caught him on the living room table, something he wouldn’t dare do before all this, not to mention something he shouldn’t be able to do if he can’t even get onto my bed.

Thank you for all your support. We have gone from worrying that Liam wouldn’t make it through the night, to worrying what sort of mischief he is going to cause next, and it is all thanks to wonderful people like you. We are due back at the vet soon, I’ll keep you posted!
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Liam is back with us! I waited to post this because I didn’t want to jynx it, but he has made it through the last couple of days without needing to be rushed back. Because they suspect his IMT was triggered by spleen cancer, they do not expect him to stay stable for very long; they said most cases relapse within a month if the underlying cause is not treated. We have an appointment to. Take him in next week to see if he is stable enough to test his spleen for cancer. He also has a 1.5 cm area in his stomach where they are unable to see the layering of his stomach lining on the ultrasound, they said it is like a hazy mass that is something they are very concerned about, and it’s placement makes it very difficult to treat, or even assess.

The good news is that he has been barking and eating and although he has diarrhea, there doesn’t appear to be any blood in his stool, where previously there was. He still has trouble getting around and needs to be lifted up onto things he could easily jump on previously. He has been going outside on his own to use the bathroom sometimes, but sometimes requires being carried out. A couple days ago we awoke to a living room covered in diarrhea, and keeping up with the cleaning has been a full time job of its own.

Today the wonderful people of the Pokemon Go East LA Raid Facebook group held an event and donated their profits to help save Liam. They managed to get $70 and we honestly cannot thank them enough.

We have managed to pay the half we needed to so that Liam could make it this far, and with a little luck we are hoping to have enough to pay the upfront costs for Liam’s endoscopy, spleenectemy, and possible stomach surgery.

The support we have received has helped more than I can express in words. Casey and I have been so overwhelmed and the emotional stress has wiped us out. Yes, we desperately need money, but just knowing that someone else cared enough to donate, whatever the amount, helps us feel like we aren’t dealing with this alone, and that there are more caring people out there than we would have ever expected. We are forever in your debt. ❤️
Back home ❤️
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This is the 6th day liam has been at the Hospital. Yesterday morning they were considering doing IV IG treatment (hard to succinctly sum up, but seems to be an effective treatment) because the lab results had his platelet count at 7000. Dr. Katz held off on the treatment and did a manual count of his platelets later on because she felt that the lab results might not fully reflect any more recent progress he might have made. I was surprised to hear that she estimated he now had over 100,000 platelets! She decided to wait on the new treatment and instead sent a sample to the lab later that day to see if he was continuing to make progress.

I got a call this morning from Dr. Katz to let me know that Liam’s lab work had come back and he had around 430,000 platelets!!! He is finally back in the normal range and can come home for a bit!! We are going to pick him up today around 6pm!!

Unfortunately it is too early to know if he is going to continue to recover, and if he does stabilize, we will need to get his spleen checked for cancer. They suspect that he does have spleen cancer and that this was what triggered his IMT in the first place. As soon as we are sure it is safe to test him without worrying about him potentially bleeding out we will need to get this done. Hopefully if we keep getting donations we will be able to afford to get this done before any cancer has a chance to spread much further.

We really cannot thank everyone enough for all of the love and support. Sometimes the world feels like a scary nightmare filled with horrible people and unfortunate events, and the only reason any of us can find hope and the strength to make it through is because there are people like you to let us know that we aren’t alone and there are people who care.
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Last night we went to visit Liam and spoke with the vet that will be overseeing his care for the next few days, Dr. Katz. She is clearly an expert in dog medicine regardless of what her name may suggest. She was the easiest to work with and the most understanding of anyone at ASG so far. Dr. Katz explained the situation as follows:

After his Chemotherapy and 3rd blood transfusion he had started showing some modest signs of improvement. His red blood cell count had not dropped like it had after the previous two transfusions and remained around 30%, which is still low, but higher than it had reached in 3 days.

Liam was much more alert, and had even been WALKING and he had eaten half a bottle of baby food. The fluid in his lungs remains stable, it’s not getting worse but not getting better, but Dr. Katz was optimistic about his potential to recover.

We got to spend some time with Liam, and he was much more alert despite having gotten a little bit of Benadryl earlier. Liam even ate some chicken we brought with us! After having cried our eyes out the previous day when they were told he probably wouldn’t make it and that we should consider euthanizing him, I cannot explain how wonderful it was to see him actually eating and showing signs of improvement. We even started howling a bit to see what he would do, and he made the cutest/funniest sound as he tried join in (The video will be posted on my Facebook). He is still far from out of danger, and will need at least a few more days of hospitalization even if things go perfectly.

We cannot thank everyone who has donated enough. We were able to pay for the half advanced deposit we needed to continue his treatment because of you. We tremendously appreciate all the love and support we have gotten and all of the people who have shared our story. If Liam makes it through this, it will be because of kind people like you ❤️
We love you Liam
We still need lots of help
We must pay half(of high) to continue
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Raised by 85 people in 9 months
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